Dexmedetomidine in Cardiac Surgery Patients Who Fail Extubation and Present with a Delirium State


  • Nihan Yapici
  • Turkan Coruh
  • Tamer Kehlibar
  • Fikri Yapici
  • Arif Tarhan
  • Yesim Can
  • Azmi Ozler
  • Zuhal Aykac



Background: We evaluated the use of dexmedetomidine to facilitate the weaning of delirious postoperative patients from mechanical ventilation.

Methods: We included 72 consecutive patients who underwent elective cardiac surgery in this prospective observational study. Each patient had failed at least 1 trial of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and had agitation. Patients were assessed with the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) and the Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit (CAMICU) 12 to 18 hours after their admission to the ICU. Midazolam and fentanyl were then given to all patients according to the sedation protocol. At 36 hours in the ICU, patients who had agitation and an inability to wean were randomly divided into 2 groups: group M, 34 patients who continued to follow the routine sedative protocol; and group D, 38 patients who were given dexmedetomidine. Arterial blood gas measurements, hemodynamic parameters, and time to extubation were recorded. Statistical analysis was performed with GraphPad InStat (version 2.02 for DOS).

Results: All patients tested positive in the CAM-ICU assessment, and all had a delirium diagnosis. The 38 patients in group D tolerated a spontaneous breathing trial with CPAP and were extubated after a mean (±SD) of 49.619 ± 6.96 hours. The 2 groups had significantly different extubation times (58.389 ± 3.958 hours versus 49.619 ± 6.96 hours). The 2 groups had significantly different RASS scores at 48 and 60 hours and significantly different heart rates and PO2 values at 12 and 24 hours. The 2 groups showed no significant differences with regard to hemodynamic parameters.

Conclusions: Dexmedetomidine may help to eliminate the emergence of agitation and can be a good treatment choice for the delirium state after cardiac surgery.


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How to Cite

Yapici, N., Coruh, T., Kehlibar, T., Yapici, F., Tarhan, A., Can, Y., Ozler, A., & Aykac, Z. (2011). Dexmedetomidine in Cardiac Surgery Patients Who Fail Extubation and Present with a Delirium State. The Heart Surgery Forum, 14(2), E93-E98.




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